The Marine Industry’s Plastic Transformation

As most of you are probably aware, our parent company is ironically named Teak Isle Mfg. With the introduction of marine grade plastics in the early 90’s, specifically King Starboard, the marine industry underwent a dramatic shift away from wood component parts towards plastic component parts.

In 1990, 90%+ of Teak Isle’s fabricated parts were composed of Wood. By 1995, 90%+ were plastic.

So what were the reasons for such a quick and dramatic material switch?

The first and obvious answer is durability. King Starboard® will last the lifetime of your boat with essentially zero maintenance. Teak requires regular oiling to keep the wood from discoloring and breaking down. King Starboard is a UV stabilized homogeneous sheet that will never discolor or require any oiling or refinishing.

Some of the other less obvious reasons Starboard now dominates the marine accessory market are:

It is actually easier than wood to work with.

King Starboard® is easily fabricated using standard woodworking materials and for the most part works just like wood. The advantage when working with Starboard is that the sheets are perfectly consistent. You do not have to accommodate for grain direction, color inconsistencies, and knots in the wood. You also are not limited by board width and therefore you avoid gluing up boards to create wider products.

It can be extruded in different colors to match boat builders gel coat colors.

We stock over 10 different colors of King Starboard. Largely these are different shades of white to match gel coat colors and give boats a clean flush look.

Nowadays, Raw Teak wood costs more than double what King Starboard costs!

When King Starboard® was first introduced it was very comparable in cost to teak wood. Now, because of environmental restrictions as well as new political restrictions in Burma (which accounts for nearly 1/3 of the world’s total teak production), Teak prices have skyrocketed.

There is absolutely no question there is something classic about nice teak accents on a boat. Teak looks beautiful with regular maintenance and oiling. With that said, King Starboard is more durable, requires less maintenance, easier to work with and half the cost!